DURATION: March 17th – April 22nd, 2017
ROCKELMANN& is proud to announce NO SURVIVORS, the first European solo exhibition by Philadelphia, PA based artist Ben Peterson. Borrowing its title from a video work of the same name, NO SURVIVORS seeks to dissect and discover intersectional threads between the themes of queer identity, sportsmanship and masculinity.
Peterson uses his own history as a closeted gay man growing up in a socially conservative community in rural Michigan to create cathartic video works, sculptures and performance pieces. Using memories from his own adolescence, Peterson’s practice is often personally therapeutic and socially active. He creates pieces in the hopes that they will speak to a younger queer community experiencing the setbacks of being exiled within one’s own hometown or family.
His conceptual process deploys criticality and humor to ameliorate negative memories of bullying, anxiety, self-loathing, and conflicted identities through a cheerful degeneracy of masculine tropes. Making artwork that associates clay and the ceramic with sensuality, sexuality, and transgression, he builds a nuanced critique of a field of institutionalized tastes – pushing back against cultural and aesthetics values that he finds representative of oppression.
Recently, the subject matter of Peterson’s work has taken on the social and political aspects of his life, due to the ramifications of current obstacles regarding the preservation and advancement of LGBTQi rights in the United States. Turning perceived anxieties and negatives in his life into positives has become a form of resistance. By refusing to let himself succumb to societal pressures of conformity and repression, Peterson rejects the later. By relating experiences of discomfort to others Peterson can help to redefine who can be successful.
Peterson graduated from Michigan State University in 2002 with a Bachelors of Fine art in ceramics and photography and from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 with a Masters of Fine art in ceramics. He currently teaches at Hunter College in New York City.